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V-Moda runs at Beats with new in-ear Forza sports headphones (hands-on)

V-Moda is moving into the sports headphone arena with its new Forza series line, featuring customizable caps and removable fins.


The sports headphone market is hot these days and V-Moda, now owned by musical instrument maker Roland, wants in on the action.

Its new Forza Series features two wired in-ear models, the Forza ($100) and Forza Metallo ($130), and the Forza Metallo Wireless ($170), a neckband-style Bluetooth model that's due out in December. The two wired models are available now. No word yet on international pricing but we'll add it as soon as we get it -- for reference $170 is about £140 or AU$220.

I got an early look at a near-final version of the Forza Metallo Wireless and it seems very promising, though I didn't get to hear how it sounded. It will be competing against Beats' upcoming $150 BeatsX headphone.

I did receive early samples of the Forza and Forza Metallo and have been using them for the past few days. Both the design and sound quality are impressive and it's easy to get a secure fit using one of the four included ear tips. V-Moda's well-designed, patent-pending sport fins and ear hooks are also in the box, along with a nice carrying case.

The entry-level Forza has plastic buds, while the step-up Metallo has metal buds and an upgraded cord. The Metallo sounds slightly better, too. They're very clean sounding headphones with tight, punchy bass. In that sense, they don't have the typical V-Moda sound profile, which tends to accentuate the bass and can lack some clarity.

I discussed them with Steve Guttenberg, who writes CNET's Audiophiliac blog. He tried the Metallo, and we both thought they had a more neutral sound profile. Steve's not a big fan of V-Moda's earlier bass-heavy sound profiles, but he said he liked the Metallo a lot. I did, too.

As an added bonus, you can customize the look of the headphones with optional 3D-printed caps. This is similar to what V-Moda does with the customizable plates for its over-ear headphones, but this is the first time any headphone company has come out with accessories for in-ear headphones, that I'm aware of.

You can purchase 3D printed caps to customize the look of the headphone.


Just like the fins, the caps simply fit over the top of the bud and they do fit securely. I'm yet to receive any caps, but V-Moda reps said they'll be shipping soon.

It's important to point out that while they're being marketed as sports headphones -- and yes, they're sweat-resistant -- they're also designed to be used as everyday headphones.

We'll have full reviews in the coming weeks of all three Forza models. For now, take a look at V-Moda's specs for the Forza Metallo Wireless:

  • 5.8 mm Micro Driver
  • Qualcomm wireless Bluetooth chipset
  • Sweat- and weather-resistant nanocoating technology
  • Four different sizes of Bass Level Isolating Soft Silicone (Bliss) 3.0 fittings ensure best fit and optimal sound quality
  • Detachable ActiveFlex sport fins, in three sizes, ensure stability while running or working out
  • Lithium-ion battery: Up to 10 hours of music playback and ultra-fast charging
  • Noise-cancelling dual microphones for making phone calls
  • 10 meter (32 feet) range and two-device connectivity
  • iOS battery indicator and widget
  • Available in December for $170
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